All posts by Jen Thorpe

Supporting Cast Announced Dynamic Subscriber Messaging



Supporting Cast announced Dynamic Subscriber Messaging. Podcasters can send targeted, personalized audio messages, like thank-yous for joining, warnings about expiring credit cards, and invitations to upgrade to higher priced tiers. This feature will drastically improve the premium podcast subscription experience, reduce member churn, and grow subscription revenue meaningfully for our clients over time.

What if you could send a recorded welcome message directly to a specific member’s podcast player? What if, as the member’s renewal date approaches, they heard a message from the show host in their feed thanking them for their ongoing support, or reminding them to update their payment information? That’s what Dynamic Subscriber Messages allow.

Dynamic Subscriber Messages are delivered as mini-episodes via members’ podcast apps based on where the user sits in their subscription lifecycle, so that they’re only heard by the people meant to hear them, at the exact moment when they make sense.

Dynamic Subscriber Messaging offers two key advantages that will make your message much more likely to be heard – and acted upon.

One advantage is that Dynamic Subscriber Messaging lets you deliver messages in your own voice. Supporting Cast says listeners have a close connection to a podcaster through the podcaster’s voice. They argue that listeners’ emotional attachment to podcasters’ vocal persona is what drives the bulk of the podcasting industry today.

Another advantage of Dynamic Messaging is that your audience is used to meeting you in their podcast player, not their inbox. It allows you to reach listeners where you know they are spending a lot of time, and where they are engaging with you. Podcasters can insert audio messages appropriate to each member’s circumstances directly into their premium feeds, as episodes that only they can see, at the exact moment when the message is most relevant to them.

Those who are interested can visit the Supporting Cast blog post about Dynamic Subscriber Messaging to learn more about it and to let them know how you would like to incorporate it into your member communications.


Fireside Announced the Fireside Pro Plan



Fireside announced the launch of the Fireside Pro Plan. They created a plan for podcasters who are becoming serious about their show, who want precise control over their collaborators’ roles and permissions, sharable download metrics, priority support, and the ability to upload MP3 files up to 200MB in size. The Pro Plan also features a handful of newly designed exclusive templates for your fireside website.

In addition to these features, the Pro Plan also features all new, in-depth and highly granular metrics, providing deeper insight into your audience, including granular details about the platforms and clients used to download and listen to your podcast, and a full breakdown of your audience location across the globe, the as well as the ability to share these metrics with non-Fireside users (like sponsors).

Additional Pro Plan features include all of the features in the Standard Plan, plus:

  • Includes 2 podcasts
  • Unlimited downloads/month
  • Advanced download metrics
  • Up to 10 collaborators
  • Collaborator roles
  • 3 brand-new Pro themes
  • Sharable metrics
  • Priority Support
  • Increased MP3 file size
  • Hide Fireside branding option
  • Integrated Click tracking
  • Customizable favicon
  • Bulk episode editing
  • Episode renumbering
  • Advanced theme customization
  • More!

Parcast is Unionizing



Parcast announced the formation of The Parcast Union with the Writers Guild of America East. Parcast was acquired by Spotify in March of 2019. At the time I am writing this blog post, it is unclear to me what Spotify thinks about this situation.

The Verge reported that Parcast is the third Spotify-owned company that has decided to organize. It follows Gimlet Media (which Spotify acquired in February of 2019) and The Ringer (which Spotify acquired in February of 2020). I’m not sure what, exactly, this says about Spotify.

Here is a little bit from Parcast’s blog post about unionizing:

We, the writers, researchers, fact-checkers, hosts, and producers of Parcast, look to the future with optimism and excitement. But to ensure a workplace that remains dedicated to Spotify’s core values — collaboration, innovation, passion, playfulness, and sincerity — we have chosen to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East.

Through collective bargaining, we hope to achieve growth in the following areas:

  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: A sincere commitment to creating a workplace as diverse and inclusive as the stories we tell.
  • Workload & Overtime: A reasonable workload that leaves time for playfulness and innovation.
  • Transparency & Compensation: Clear job descriptions, equitable compensation, transparent salary bands, and collaborative decision-making.
  • Creativity & Intellectual Property: An environment where the ideas and voices of our passionate creators are valued and respected.

On September 3, 2020, Parcast Union tweeted: “UPDATE: Today, we met with Parcast leads and Spotify HR representatives in an All Hands Meeting. We look forward to our union being recognized so we can begin having a real dialogue.”

To me, it sounds like what Parcast is asking for is reasonable. A company as large and profitable as Spotify should have no problem providing Parcast with the things they are requesting.


Your News Update is Coming to Google Podcasts



Google announced that Your News Update is coming to Google Podcasts. This comes after Google launched their smart audio news playlist Your News Update on Google Assistant last fall.

The reason why Google is launching Your News Update is to fix a problem. According to Google, news is the fastest growing category in podcasts. But, it tends to focus on national and broader news topics. It is harder to find on-demand quality journalism at the local-level about things that are personally relevant to listeners.

We want to help bridge that gap with new, intelligent audio news experiences that deliver local stories and more personalized content. We’re bringing Your News Update to Google Podcasts and also making it easier to listen to local news when you ask Google Assistant. Both of these updates will feature new natural sounding text-to-speech voices to make the listening experience more enjoyable.

It sounds like it works rather simply for users. Open the Google Podcast app and navigate to the Explore tab. You can subscribe to Your News Update and listen to a mix of short news stories chosen in that moment based on your interests, location, user history and preferences.

It is an interesting idea, considering how difficult it can be to access local news online. My local newspaper has a paywall that appears to lock off all content to anyone who isn’t paying for a subscription.

Trying to find local news information on social media can be difficult because it can be hard to tell a good news source from one that has a problematic agenda on first glance. Some of the most reliable news sites lock away content behind a paywall, which leaves people with disreputable news sites that spin a news topic in ways that may not be honest or true.

Perhaps the solution to these annoyances is Your News Update. It sounds to me that it can provide to podcast listeners what the local TV news channel used to provide for viewers several decades ago.


Podcast Movement Virtual Announced Round 1 of Speakers



Podcast Movement Virtual has announced the first round of speakers. The event will take place online on October 19-20, 2020. Registration is open now.

Podcast Movement Virtual 1st Round of Speaker Announcements include:

  • Jukeyka Lantigua-Williams of Langiqua Williams & Co. – “16 Questions to Test Your Podcast Idea (Before You Press Record)”
  • Lory Martinez with Studeo Ochenta – “Podcasting for Social Justice: POC & BIPOC Podcast Founders Sound Off”
  • Lindsay Graham from Airship.fm – “Narrative in Nonfiction: Engage through Drama”
  • Milah Mapp and Erica Dickerson from Good Moms Bad Choices and Veronika Taylor with Acast – “We’re All Niche: How to Advocate for Your Personal Identity through Podcasting (from Two Single, Black Moms Who Do So)”
  • Tom Schwab with Interview Valet – “What the Data Says About Podcast Interviews”
  • Christine Blackburn of Story Worthy – “A Decade of Podcasting with Christine Blackburn of Story Worthy”
  • Kimberly Sumpter from Sistahs Connect – “Podcasting: Expanding the Reach of Remote Learning”
  • Nick Dunkerley from Hindenburg Systems – “Painting Pictures with Sound: Bringing Your Stories to Life”
  • Melina Palmer with The Brainy Business and Louise Brogan from LinkedIn with Louise – “Is Your Pitch Getting Deleted? Let’s Change That!”
  • A.J. Feliciano from Rooster Teeth – “Building a Community with Your Content”
  • Christina Barsi with Avant Haus Media – “Why You’re Lying to Yourself (and Doing It Wrong): How to Think Creatively to Excel”
  • Chris Colbert from DCP Entertainment – “Say Their Name: How to Use Audio to Humanize Headlines”
  • Paula J. Hutchinson with The Stiletto Talks – “Identifying an Impactful Niche”
  • Todd Cochrane with Blubrry Podcasting – “Private Podcasting Possibilities”
  • Zaiba Hasan from Mommying While Muslim – “Breaking Down Stereotypes and Accidental Audiences”

And more! To see the full list, you should read the blog post on the Podcast Movement Virtual website.


Wildcast Launches New Platform for Networking and Productivity



Wildcast, Inc. announced the soft launch of its patent-pending service, a networking platform for those in the podcast industry to connect and podcast together. On the newly available platform, podcast guests can find podcasts to share their message, podcasts can find the best guests to host, users can schedule ad trades with other podcasts as a means of promotion, and those in the podcast industry can network in general.

Wildcast users can explore, search, and filter those on the platform and add them to their network, message with potential collaborators, and schedule recordings based on their customized calendar. While Wildcast is starting with guest and podcast booking as well as ad trades between podcasts, the company hopes to introduce sponsors and other podcast industry segments into the platform in later versions.

Some of Wildcast’s early users include podcasts from the top charts of Comedy, Society & Culture, Science, TV & Film, guests who have worked on shows and networks including The Bachelor, Netflix, and Bravo, as well as talent agencies and individual experts on everything from psychology to sex and relationships.

While the podcast industry has grown rapidly, both in the number of listener and the number of podcasts, the majority of new companies in the space are geared toward the consumers and listeners of podcasts, not the podcasters, podcast guests, and people behind the creation of podcasts themselves.

“After working as the Head of Production at a small podcast network, I realized that there was so much opportunity to streamline the podcasting space for those within the industry; the podcasters, producers, guests and sponsors. We want to create a space where all parties involved can gather under one ‘camp’ so they can create better content and ultimately tell better stories together,” said Wildcast Co-Founder and CEO, Madison Catania.

“Wildcast is going to be the gamechanger that the podcast industry has needed. We’re incredibly excited to begin collaborating much more efficiently with other podcasts, guests, agencies, and networks in the space,” said the team behind Podcast Nation, a podcast network located in Vancouver and LA.

For more information on Wildcast, visit gowildcast.com and find Wildcast on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


Veritone One Subscribes to Neilsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service



Neilsen announced that Veritone One, Inc. is now a subscriber to Neilsen’s Podcast Buying Power service. With headquarters in Costa Mesa, Calif., Veritone One is one of the world’s largest full-service performance-based audio advertising and media agencies.

As a new subscriber to Neilsen’s service, Veritone One will have access to podcast insights spanning 18 genres and over 150 individual podcast titles that can be cross-referenced among a variety of consumer purchase behavior patterns and services usage.

Currently counting over 12 major podcast companies a subscribers, Neilsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service allows clients to profile shows using program specific titles collected from subscribers in order to connect specific types of listeners with particular advertisers and specific program-level insights. It also features the same capabilities by genres and listening usage.

“As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium,” said Conor Doyle, SVP of Strategy and Investment at Veritone One. “Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.”

Only Nielsen, with its extensive Scarborough category database, has this type of advertiser connection with podcasting. Nielsen Podcast Buying Power service has the ability to capture results for specific programs and tie them back with over 2,000 retail/plan-to-buy categories and hundreds of advertisers with specific brand names such as insurance companies, automotive, quick-service restaurants, home improvement retailers and more. These easy-to-use reports are generated from web-based software and have a two time per year data release.


The Good, The Bad & The Rugby has Launched



The Good, The Bad, & The Rugby is a brand new weekly show with familiar fan favourites, Sky Sports presenter, Alex Payne, and former professional rugby players, James Haskell and Mike Tindall. Over the past two years, the trio have collaborated on the award-winning House of Rugby podcast and YouTube show that attracted almost 200,000 listeners and viewers per week, making it the biggest of its kind in the world.

The guys went beyond just being the faces of the show; they became it. For that reason, the team have decided to now go it alone and launch: The Good, The Bad & The Rugby.

The magic of the show is undoubtedly the dynamic that exists between the three hosts, its broad audience appeal, and the calibre of famous guests. This is a rugby show at its core, but offers so much more. There is no defining an episode, no silly gimmicks, it’s simply a collection of real and raw human stories, a rollercoaster of emotions slotted into an hour. Alex, James and Mike are now relaunching the show under new management, with a new name: The Good, The Bad & The Rugby.

Every week, the panel are joined by different guests, ranging from fellow rugby legends to TV and entertainment stars from around the world. Working together with the team at 21Six Sport, Alex, James, and Mike are planning to drive the show forward from being an exceptional sports podcast to a serious challenger for the number-one spot in the UK podcast ratings.

The first episode has launched and is set to be an absolute blockbuster, with England’s head coach, Eddie Jones, as the first guest. Each episode will go live on Wednesday afternoons, with rugby fans being able to listen on all major podcast platforms and watch the full episode on YouTube. Show highlights will also go out across the show’s Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram channels, and will be supported by live Q&As with the panel and exclusive rugby competitions and content.


Morally Indefensible Podcast has Premiered



Sixty-five million people tuned into the 1984 television adaptation of journalist Joe McGuinniss’ smash best-selling book Fatal Vision to try to make sense of the unfathomable true-life horror story of Jeffrey McDonald, a military medical doctor accused and convicted of brutally murdering his wife and two young daughters. It was a scandalous crime that jolted the world and became a cultural moment that captured the public’s imagination and never let go.

Now, the highly anticipated new podcast Morally Indefensible from Marc Smerling (Crimetown, The Jinx, Capturing the Friedmans) and Truth Media, in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, makes its debut focusing on the divisive backstory of McGinniss’ writing and reporting of the book that gave rise to the landmark TV series and MacDonald’s infamy.

Controversy surrounds Fatal Vision to this day. MacDonald enlisted famous journalist McGuinniss, who later became his friend, to write an account of his story that would prove him innocent, but the published book was not what he expected, and it has had lasting repercussions for both men.

In Smerling’s unique multiplatform approach to telling this layered and complicated story, Morally Indefensible launches as a lead-in companion to the premier of FX’s new five-part docuseries, A Wilderness of Error, based on the book of the same name by author and documentarian Errol Morris.

A Wilderness of Error tells the story of MacDonald, but from a different perspective, and premiers Friday, September 25 on FX, streaming the following day via FX on Hulu. The premier includes three episodes airing back-to-back-to-back from 8 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT, with the final two episodes airing the following week.

Mark Smerling directs and executive produces alongside Blumhouse Television (The Jinx, The Loudest Voice, The Good Lord Bird) and UCP (Unspeakable Crime: The Killing of Jessica Chambers, Mr. Robot, The Act,) a division of Universal Studio Group, for FX Networks. Additional executive producers include Michael Jackson and Rachael Horovitz, who acquired the rights to the book; Jason Blum, Jeremy Gold, Marci Wiseman, Mary Lislo, Dam Olmstead, and Jessica Grimshaw.

Currently, MacDonald is still in prison, but maintains his innocence to this day. A new parole hearing is scheduled for later this year.

Listeners can subscribe to Morally Indefensible across all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and more.